Igor Vovchanchyn: The Man Who Showed Fedor How to Punch

Vovchanchyn8_mediumThe Garv posted an interview with one of the old school legends a couple of days back and I was too demented busy to post about it but didn't want to let it pass unremarked. Igor Vovchanchyn was the most feared striker of the late 1990s era of MMA.

Here's an interesting nugget for those who are unfamiliar with Igor V.:

Michael Mazur: What victory was the most valueable for you personally?
Igor Vovchanchyn: I guess it was my first Kiev tournament “Diamond night” I mentioned previously. To tell you the truth even I was pretty shocked by that event. Further on, both fights against Mark Kerr who was an animal and in his prime back then - these were some of the more memorable wars for me.

Michael Mazur: Who was your most difficult opponent?
Igor Vovchanchyn: Regarding the bouts I won - the hardest one was, no, were both fights against Mark Kerr. Concering the bouts I lost - it’s got to be Mark Coleman. I believe lack of preparation played its role. Watching the tape afterwrds, you know, I spot lots of my own mistakes. Preparing for the upcoming fight and implementing all the things you had up your sleeve doesn’t work as planned. Also the Heath Herring fight - it was pretty close.

To give you a little context, Vovchanchyn won more single night eight man tournaments than any other MMA fighter ever. The Diamond Night tournament was just one of many for him.

And the bouts he's referring to were classic stylistic clashes between Igor -- a puffed up light heavyweight with a huge right hand, dangerous knees who once even won a fight with headbutts from his back -- and two of the biggest, scariest wrestlers of his day in the Marks Kerr and Coleman.

Next he talks a little bit about his impact on one of the fighter's of today:

Michael Mazur: Do you agree with the statement that Fedor copied your style of punching? What potential fights have never taken place and why?
Igor Vovchanchyn: That’s true but only to some extent. More people were trying to imitate it, including japanese. They called it “Igor Vovchanchyn” punching. I can remember myself entering a gym there and seeing everyone practicing my style of punching.

I encourage you to read up on The Reign of the Wrestlers and Strikers Attack from my MMA History series to see Igor and Kerr in action at their peaks.

As far as Fedor modeling his striking on Igor's, its entirely possible and I do see some similarities in the looping hooks overhands thrown with the thumb pointing down.

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